On 8th of October 2015, the University of Nairobi in collaboration with the County Government of Kiambu and UN-Habitat launched preparations for the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for Ruiru Town.
The launch was attended by a number of stakeholders including County officials, UN-Habitat, University of Nairobi, Members of County Assembly (MCA’s), engineers, traffic police department among others. The meeting was presided over by Engineer Kamau and was opened officially by Engineer Njeri Mburu, the County Executive Committee (CEC) Transport, Road and Public Works. The launch set a platform for the development of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for Ruiru town by the University of Nairobi in collaboration with UN-HABITAT and the County Government of Kiambu.
Ruiru is the most populous town in Kiambu County with a population of 238,858. It is located within 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) of Nairobi's city. The town covers an area of 292 km2 (113 sq mi), and is surrounded by numerous coffee plantations. Ruiru is considered a dormitory town for Nairobi and is connected by both rail and road. Ruiru as a transportation hub comprises many modes of transport such as roads, railway and Non Motorised Transport (NMT).
The rapid and often unplanned and uncoordinated growth of urban areas such as Ruiru has seriously compromised existing transportation system. This has significantly increased the challenge of creating future transportation systems which can sustainably address the mobility needs and desires of its citizens. Nowadays, large amounts of money is lost every year due to congestion and traffic inefficiencies – not to speak of the effects on people’s time and health. Time has come to create cities where people and community come first. ‘Planning ahead’ becomes essential for Ruiru – being a fast growing town in the Metropolitan Region of Nairobi. The future of Ruiru requires holistic vision in terms of people centered mobility – incorporating the region and its transportation networks and modes.
“Ruiru on the Move” through “Ruiru Sustainable Mobility Plan” has as central goal of improving accessibility of Ruiru and providing high-quality, safe and sustainable mobility and transport to, through and within Ruiru urban area. It regards the needs of the ’functioning urban area’ and its hinterland rather than a pure administrative area. It is aimed at fostering a balanced development of all relevant transport modes, while encouraging a shift towards more sustainable modes. The success of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan Project in Ruiru will allow for replication of the project in other towns and urban centres within the Country. The County seeks to ensure that all citizens are offered transport systems that enable them to reach their destination.
The launch was preceded by the assembling and collection of background information to fill the data gaps. Primary and secondary data collection was conducted after the launch seeking to map stakeholders, administer household questionnaires and conduct traffic surveys. Data analysis is underway in preparation of the first draft situational analysis report. Institutional mapping is expected to begin in order to establish the concerned stakeholders in the mobility industry in Ruiru. The sustainable urban mobility plan will be drafted once the situational analysis has been established. This plan will therefore be forwarded to the county and all the concerned stakeholders including motorists, pedestrians and the residents of Ruiru.
The SUMP is aimed at complimenting other transport plans and addressing some of the challenges in Ruiru Sub-County and the process of identification has to be participatory to ensure adoption of SUMP. The plan will promote a shit from a car centered system to a people centered system. The SUMP is geared towards integrating all modes of transport (roads, railway, NMT) and ensuring that the modes are functional.
By Sharon Boit